In terms of web development, a website’s homepage is undoubtedly the most important page of the site. Almost all of your traffic will go directly to the homepage before moving to any other page, so it has to make its mark quickly. The more attention you give to your homepage, the more successful the rest of your website will be, because it essentially acts as a portal to everything else. Here are a few things to consider when creating your own homepage, in order to maximize its appeal.
A homepage is often also referred to as a ‘landing page’. This is potentially a more accurate way to describe it because it is literally your first port of call when you land on a website. The aim of a successful homepage should be to then point the user in the right direction regarding other content and areas on your site. Each key area should be clearly presented and it should be made clear where you should go in order to find what you need. Similarly, your homepage should make clear straight away just what exactly your website is about.
When surfing the internet our concentration span is incredibly low and first impressions are everything. If we can’t find make sense of a page within a few seconds then there are likely hundreds of alternative sites out there that we can make sense of. This is why quite often you will see homepages are significantly simpler than other pages on a website. Information is usually boiled down to its most simple terms in order to rope the user in quickly, you will often find large titles, straplines and bullet points making up a lot of home page content.
Some of the most successful homepages take this web development concept further, often using a single, striking image to make a bold opening statement. They may also present each section of the website in a far more graphical way, making it clear when you need to navigate to next. Think of how many homepages you have seen that consist solely of a small grid of icons or buttons, this is the easiest way to direct somebody directly to a certain part of the site. It essentially serves the same purpose as a huge road sign above a junction.
A homepage is also the perfect place to shine a spotlight. If you have a new section of the website or something of interest you really want to push on the user (say a promotion, discount, a new product etc) a large call to action on the homepage is the most effective way of guiding the user toward it. In this regard a homepage can be compared to a shop window, you should always put your most important item where it can be easily seen. By keeping the page free of clutter you can draw attention to what matters. Then you can offer more detailed information further in to the site, this also encourages the user to navigate the site, as long as they feel that they are always getting somewhere.
By taking these simple web development notes on board you should be able to create an effective landing page that not only entices and engages the user, but guides them clearly in to the rest of the site.